Google I/O, traditionally, is a developer-centric conference but we have seen in the past few years that most of the new announcements made at the event directly affect / improve the experience of Google‘s customers. This year was no exception, with the Google I/O 2017 kicking off with some interesting product announcements and updates. Many of the new tech revealed at the event affect us in our day to day life which means it’s worth checking out what’s new from the company. The company seems to have heavily worked on visual recognition and features in 2017 and we can clearly see the advancement in this department in the tech mentioned below.
So, here are some of the key Google I/O 2017 Highlights:
1. Smarter Machine Vision
Google’s Computer Vision AI has become smarter and the camera app itself could get some really cool features such as removing obstacles from the pictures captured on the screen. Using the additional information, the AI can do a lot of things, like automatically make a dull and noisy low-light image clearer. The teaser shown at the event revealed the AI removing the entire fence from the frame to keep the girl playing baseball intact in the image.
2. Google Lens
Google Lens seems to be the next big thing in machine-based visual recognition. Google’s visual recognition tech has improved to such a great level that you can get a ton of features by just using the phone’s camera. All you have to do is just point at an object and the phone’s powerful AI will show you relevant content right inside the camera interface. For example, if you point at a restaurant, the Google Lens app will display its ratings right on the camera screen.
If you remember, this app kind of reminds me of the HERE City Lens app that we had on the earlier Nokia Lumia smartphones. It sure was cool back then and with the new tech, the Google Lens app will take things to a whole new level.
The Lens app can do a lot more, like connecting to the Wi-Fi network just by scanning the preset Wi-Fi settings on the router, or identifying a flower just by pointing the camera at it.
Well, get ready to see a lot of people pointing their smartphones at random objects on the road soon.
3. Google Assitant For iPhones
Move over Siri, Google Assistant is here to make you insecure. In just a year after launching the company’s personal assistant for Android phones, the Google Assistant is available to the iPhones via an app on the store. It brings familiar features as the Android version, but it’s not directly baked into the OS, which gives Siri a natural advantage.
Note that Google Assistant for iPhones isn’t a big deal as the assistant is now expanding to a lot more smart home products. Just watch out for the logo (yellow red green and blue dots) on the product to see if it has Google Assistant inside.
4. Android O Enters Beta
Yes, after announcing the developer preview version back in April, the Android O Beta build is now available to beta testers. Unfortunately, you can become a beta tester only if you own a recent Nexus or Pixel device.
Battery life has always been the focus on new Android versions and the same applies to Android O. The new version aims to preserve device battery by limiting resource consumption by each app in the background. There are a lot of smart stuff being tailored in order for the background apps to reduce as much power consumption as possible.
Apart from improving the OS speed, what’s significantly improved is the boot time. For example, the Google Pixel with Android O would take less than half as much time as an Android Nougat running unit. Also, there are new things like picture-in-picture, notification dots etc to improve the user experience.
5. Android Go aka Android Lite
For a lot of current Android users, Android Go may not matter much, but for the billions of users that are still to jump onto Google’s mobile platform, especially from the developing markets where mobile phone specs are entry level to keep the price low, Android Go is a game changer.
It’s a slimmed down version of Android specifically targeted at super low-end smartphones. While I understand that the specifications of entry-level smartphones, even the ones that cost less than $100 have improved significantly, Android Go would probably benefit phones that are even cheaper! We are talking phones with less than 1GB of RAM and a super entry level chip. For them, Android Go would make sense since it uses less data, supports multiple languages and makes Android bearable for low-end hardware. Get ready for a set of Android Go supported Google apps to be highlighted on the play store. Each app is said to be under 10Mb.
Overall, the Google I/O had some really interesting tech announcements yesterday. What do you think?